Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Business Impact

The 5 Smartest Companies Analyzing Your DNA

These companies are leading the charge in consumer and medical genetics.

As gene sequencing technology gets faster and cheaper, companies are finding more ways to commercialize DNA, from offering disease-specific genetic tests and whole-genome sequencing to portable sequencers that allow you analyze genetic data anywhere. Five standouts made our list of the 50 Smartest Companies.

23andMe

23andMe first debuted direct-to-consumer tests meant to predict disease in 2013, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration quickly clamped down on that and told the company to stop marketing the tests, saying they could be inaccurate and confusing to consumers. But the company was vindicated earlier this year when the FDA revised that decision, declaring 23andMe could sell tests that estimate customers’ risk of certain disease, as long as they don’t purport to diagnose any disease.  

Read more

Illumina

Early this year, Illumina, the manufacturer of most of the world’s DNA sequencers, unveiled its newest, most efficient machine, NovaSeq, which can sequence as many as 48 entire human genomes in two and a half days, according to the company. Illumina claims the ultra-fast machine will usher in the $100 genome and will open the door for researchers to cheaply sequence DNA in search of rare genetic variants that cause disease.

Read more

Oxford Nanopore

Twelve years in the making, Oxford Nanopore’s handheld DNA sequencer is living up to its promise to decode DNA anywhere, on the spot. Called the MinION, the portable sequencer has traveled the world, from the forests of West Africa to northeastern Brazil, to analyze the genetic makeup of the Ebola and Zika viruses. It’s been blasted up to the International Space Station and has visited Antarctica to study pathogens living in extreme environments. The $1,000 device is being used for on-the-spot diagnostic testing, germ monitoring, and more.

Read more

Sophia Genetics

Sophia Genetics is taking a big-data approach to DNA. The Swiss company is using AI algorithms to continuously learn from thousands of patients’ genomic data. Partnering hospitals take patient samples and run them through a DNA sequencer. The Sophia system sifts through that genetic information to identify mutations in a patient’s genome. The company says its technology is helping to quickly and more accurately diagnose conditions like cancer, metabolic disorders, and heart disease. To date, more than 100,000 patients have been tested with Sophia’s system.

Read more

Veritas Genetics

Veritas Genetics will determine a complete readout of your genetic code for just $1,000. The technique, called whole-genome sequencing, previously could only be ordered by a doctor. So far, whole-genome sequencing has mostly been used in tough patient cases, providing a diagnosis to a previously unknown disease, for example. But Veritas is betting on the idea that healthy people want to know all about their DNA, too. The company even started offering sequencing for newborns in China this year.

Read more

Become an MIT Technology Review Insider for in-depth analysis and unparalleled perspective.

Subscribe today
More from Business Impact

How technology advances are changing the economy and providing new opportunities in many industries.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Online Only.
  • Insider Online Only {! insider.prices.online !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Unlimited online access including articles and video, plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.